Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cypress incubator

Each day, I walk by a small cypress copse that juts out into the lake. Sometimes the branches are filled with migrating cormorants looking for a free lunch, or with egrets and herons returning to their nests.

Together the mated pair clean and fix-up their old digs. During this renovation, the herons come and go at will; not returning for days at a time. Once the eggs are laid, the parents take turns incubating them and later caring for their brood. This process may take more than three months and provides the neighborhood with weeks of entertainment.

When the newborn chicks hatch (usually three), their oversized beaks rise above the nest, begging for food. The parents continue to take turns guarding the nest and flying off to fish or forage.

Before the chicks leave the nest permanently, they flutter from branch to branch within the copse, until they learn how to fly. The parents are extremely patient, allowing their youngsters to stay until they are good and ready to survive on their own.

I remind myself that all things of value are worth time and patience, that goes for life, families, faith, and yes, my paintings.